Maloney Lauds Passage of Business Reform Statement of Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney Ranking Member Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy, Technology & Economic Growth Committee on Financial Services
Mr. Speaker I rise in strong support of the conference report for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
I am gratified that we are enacting a historic overhaul of financial services oversight but I am saddened by the crisis that brought us here. Today my heart goes out to all the innocent workers who have lost their jobs and the investors whose pensions have been pillaged.
Out of this calamity we have produced the strongest legislative reaction to a business scandal since Franklin Roosevelt was President. It is a triumph over incredibly powerful special interest lobbying and includes world changing reforms for U.S. companies.
The overwhelming majority of accountants in the U.S. are hardworking honest people but the self-regulation of their industry has failed. This bill responds with the Sarbanes-LaFalce proposal for the strongest possible new independent accounting oversight board. It also adopts the Sarbanes-LaFalce plan to put an end to the inherent conflict of interest of allowing the same firm to provide audit and consulting services for the same client.
Investors have lost faith in boards of directors and managers to look out for their interests. This legislation empowers independent members of boards to hire and fire auditors, requires CEOs and CFOs to certify the accuracy of their company's financial statements, and prohibits trades during pension blackouts.
More and more Americans depend on the markets for a secure retirement. Criminals who take advantage of investors will now face serious jail time for securities fraud - up to 25 years behind bars, where they belong.
Importantly, the bill also authorizes $776 million for the SEC including money for pay parity. This is more than the President requested in the his recent speech on Wall Street but without this funding our legislation will be an unenforceable, hollow victory.
Finally, I want to thank Chairman Oxley for his work on the legislation and the hearings he held.
I especially want to thank John LaFalce, who recognized a crisis in financial reporting years before it became front page news. This legislation may be called the Sarbanes-Oxley Act but much of it is the product of Rep. LaFalce's handiwork as a leader in the Financial Services Committee, on the House floor and in conference.
I yield back the balance of my time.